An interview with FringeReview on our upcoming production, “When We Grow Up We’ll Be Old “
What’s the theme of your show?
When We Grow Up We’ll Be Old explores what it’s like to grow up in a small market town. Our two characters, while playing a fantasy board game, muse over the time they staged a fantasy epic movie in the North Devon town of Barnstaple. In truth, what they actually discover is that their small town, and the everyday goings on there, are far more interesting than their intended Hollywood fantasy. This project is part film, part theatre, part heritage and part fantasy, all performed within an historic building in Barnstaple.
Describe one of your rehearsals.
For the first time our performance will involve youth participants, and we’ve really enjoyed the fresh energy these fantastic students have brought to our rehearsal process. We’ve been able to rehearse site-specifically, in the Barnstaple Pannier Market that we’re performing in, and have brought in all of the analogue and green screen technology that has become a feature of an Almost Human production. The rehearsals have seen students help us with writing, performing and directing through improvisation and task-based activity, and we’re really excited to be bringing a vibrant, youthful production to a fringe festival we’ve grown up with.
What’s new or unique about the show?
Aside from the youth aspect, for the first time you can expect audience participation! So if you’ve ever wanted to try out green screen technology in performance, then this is a show for you.
How did the show come into being?
We started thinking about this performance about 2 years ago, when we decided we wanted to create something that spoke about Barnstaple and its community. A long planning process followed, and at one point it looked like we were going to have to put things on hold for Barnstaple Fringe TheatreFest this year, when suddenly we were awarded a grant from Heritage Lottery Fund to make the project about a month ago. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of rewrites and re-strategising to ensure we can make the work a success.
How is the show developing?
It’s the final stretch here at Almost Human’s Barnstaple HQ, but things are rolling along – we’re putting the final touches to our game board – a scale model of Barnstaple town centre, rehearsing every evening in The Pannier Market, and making sure the technology is going to behave itself this year – the kit is almost like an uncompromising actor, always threatening to misbehave if you don’t treat it nicely. This year, we’ve turned the director’s car into a mobile studio we can just drive into the space, which adds further intrigue and excitement to the performance, and keeps us on our toes!
How has the writer been involved? Or describe the creative process of the show.
Our artistic director and lead technician have to work in close harmony to ensure that the ideas are able to be achieved both live and on screen simultaneously. Then the performance is written, while sets and models are built, and pre-recorded footage filmed. We then move into a rehearsal phase where we try to merge all these elements, adding additional material and ideas along the way. Our process is designed to be a kind of puzzle, where you get the pieces ready and then fit them together. However, every once in a while someone flings an extra piece in the box that affords us a whole new set of opportunities, so we try to stay fluid and open to anything when we’re working.
How have you experimented?
Having young people work with us this year has really opened our eyes to working collaboratively again. When you work together as a company for so long you can start to get set in your ways. I guess it’s a part of growing old. Bringing students in to work with us has offered new writing, new styles of performance and really interesting ways of playing with the green screen that you kind of forget you knew about. I guess having more play in rehearsals, rather than the seriousness of making art has really reminded us why we make work in the first place.
When We Grow Up We’ll Be Old will be performed at the Barnstaple Fringe TheatreFest at 7pm on Thursday 23rd, Friday 24th and Saturday 25th June.
Booking can be done here.